PM Netanyahu Meets with Israeli Businesspeople in Kenya
(Communicated by the Prime Minister's Media Adviser)
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, today (Tuesday, 5 July 2016), in Nairobi, attended a special Israel-Kenya economic forum in which the economic delegation that joined his trip also participated, as well a delegation of Kenyan businesspeople from over 150 companies.
The Israeli delegation is composed of approximately 80 entrepreneurs from over 50 leading companies, mainly in the fields of agriculture, water, communications and homeland security.
The goal of the forum was to increase bilateral economic cooperation and thereby boost Israeli exports and strengthen bilateral ties by creating both opportunities for business meetings and work contacts.
Prime Minister Netanyahu:
"Come closer, come and invest in Kenya. This is an opportunity. We have strategic interest, we have national and international interests, but I wouldn’t be asking you to do this if I didn't think that you would benefit because the opportunity here is first of all talented people, many possibilities and a government and a President that wants you here and is willing to go the distance to get you here.
So we came a distance to get you here, you came here. Come and invest in Kenya.
The opportunities I think are great. I think that there is an inflection point, in a certain point that an economy can take off. You can be part of that, the yeast in this cake. And I think that when you have the backing of our governments together, we can help you, and I think that what President Kenyatta said just now is critical. We can help reduce some of the risk. We can't eliminate it altogether. For God's sake, you wake up in the morning, you take a risk by crossing the street. But cross the street. We'll help you cross the street. We can do that. And you should recognize that there are opportunities both vis-à-vis the Kenyan government and vis-à-vis private companies here. And that includes security.
Security means that you could operate vis-à-vis the Kenyan government with our support, but you could operate also vis-à-vis private companies, security companies that will have that relationship with the Kenyan government and the various tasks and needs that are here.
I don’t want to devote this entire discussion to security. I believe that it's a remarkable need that… Israel is very strong in communication, as you can see. It's very good in things from anything you want, from dairy production to water management to border patrols to satellites to cyber and back to everything else.
But we are eager to share this technology with you and I say now to the local governors, this is very important, we've had our experience in other countries. Take a small country, China. We're dealing in China both on a G2G basis and also with companies but also with governors. Some governors recognize the potential of participation with Israel more than others.
They have gone the distance and they profited immensely from it. Their people have profited immensely from it."
The government is also advancing several steps to provide support and assistance for Israeli industry in penetrating the Kenyan market:
A) A bilateral economic cooperation agreement was signed today;
B) A commercial attache's office is due to open in Nairobi in the coming year; and
C) The Cabinet has approved a plan to assist exporters to Africa (funds for marketing and participation in fairs, and for feasibility studies).
Kenya and Israel are due to sign a financial protocol that is expected to lower the risks entailed in doing business in Kenya.
A similar seminar will be held in Ethiopia on Thursday. The seminars are under the aegis of the Kenyan President, Ethiopian Prime Minister and the Israeli Prime Minister.
A member of the economic delegation noted that the Israeli companies held successful meetings, above and beyond expectations, with approximately 100 Kenyan companies and relevant government representatives. He added that deals between Israeli and Kenyan companies were closed today and that many others are due to be closed as a result of today's meeting.
Prime minister's Office Director General Eli Groner said that here was good infrastructure for productive work between the two countries' business sectors. "Israeli businesspeople are known for not hesitating to fly around the world for commercial opportunities. In Africa today they found potential customers who are thirsty for cooperation. We are at the start of a very significant process."